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July 20, 2013

but I still say we're too old for clichés | chocolate guinness cake

It's always difficult to get back to blogging after an unexpected hiatus. It seems like my 'voice' fades away amidst the other things that can fill up a life, and I come back here and realise it's been a whole month since I've shared a recipe here.

Cake is one of those excellent things in life that are always unfailingly good. Many of my favourite memories centre around cake - of course, birthday cakes, and my grandma's famous pumpkin cake, my Dad's favourite - pink lady cake, the time me and my brother flooded the bathroom and we ate his birthday cake surrounded by shampoo bottles and wet cabinetry, apology cakes and numerous other cakes made at the infamous Flat F ..

This weekend has been an unexpectedly eventful one. I awoke to discover that my trusty bike had been stolen, but my luck turned when I just happened to meet a guy going to a sold out gig with an extra ticket, so I got to see the phoenix foundation. And such is the nature of Dunedin, I ended up in the front row dancing between two friends anyway.

So, whatever the reason: a "sorry your bike was stolen cake", an apology cake, a celebratory cake, this recipe fits the bill. It's a classy cake - not too sweet, and an interesting bitter chocolate flavour. An added bonus - your house will smell amazing as its baking. It's originally a Nigella recipe, so of course it's a classy cake. She's a classy lady.

chocolate guinness cake

250g butter
250mL dark beer - guinness if you like, or an interesting stout. The darker the better!
75g cocoa (preferably fair trade)
200g dark muscovado sugar
150g demerara sugar (or just white sugar if that's what you've got)
2 eggs
1 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I always forget this, and it's still delicious).
275g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons baking soda

250g cream cheese

1-2 cups icing sugar
lemon juice

Melt the butter and the beer in a saucepan on a gentle heat. Add the cocoa and both sugars - you could use 350g of plain white sugar but I like the taste of a really dark muscovado sugar better. Whisk the eggs with the sour cream/yoghurt and vanilla extract. If the butter is not too hot, mix in the eggs/yoghurt. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Make a well in the middle and gently mix the liquid a little at a time. Don't be tempted to save on dishes and add the flour to the saucepan. You will end up with lumps that are impossible to remove - I speak from experience.

Bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for between 40 minutes - 1 hour. The top will look a bit shiny but when it's done, you'll be able to prick the cake with a skewer and remove it clean. Let it cool before icing.

The icing is really just mixing the three ingredients together until you have a good consistency. The sweetness is the perfect match to the cake - but equally it's a delicious cake uniced. This cake freezes well, should you ever need to freeze it. I've taken it to potlucks before and I'm yet to find someone who dislikes it. 


title from wilco - open mind